The hours and days after an accident are scary and stressful. You’re worried about your physical health, repairing or replacing your vehicle and whether you’ll miss time from work. It’s the kind of situation that feels overwhelming because it’s unexpected and it forces you to deal with many unknowns. We’re here to help you navigate the uncertainty in the hours, days and weeks after a crash, with special attention to the physical warning signs that could cause long term damage if missed or unaddressed.
In 2018, there were 33,908 injuries as a result of auto accidents in Maryland. These injuries ranged from minor bumps and bruises to lifelong permanent injuries that require continual care and often expensive treatment. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice discusses.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Suffered in a Car Crash?
You are born with 270 bones in your body, along with hundreds of ligaments, muscles and tendons. Each delicate body part works in concert with the others, and with your fragile vital organs, to keep you feeling and moving well. Your age and current physical health factor into how your body will respond to the trauma of a car accident. Occupants of the same car may suffer different injuries. Our practice has helped clients who have suffered everything along the spectrum and we are here for you as well. Read on to find some of the most common injuries and complaints we hear from our clients.
Neck, Back, and Shoulder Pain
Soft tissue injuries are some of the most common injuries we see in low-impact accidents when vehicles are traveling less than 30 miles per hour. However, there is the potential for serious bodily harm in accidents at those speeds.
Here’s the deceptive part about many low-speed collisions: you may feel fine immediately after the accident. The adrenaline of the experience surges as you assess the damage to your vehicle, interact with the other driver and deal with the police and insurance companies. This is why so many people decline medical treatment immediately after a low impact accident, and it can impact any claims you may have down the road.
Symptoms of a whiplash injury from a Maryland car accident can take several days to emerge. Whiplash is the sudden movement of the head and neck back and forth or side to side. The powerful jerking motion strains and damages your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Think of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your head and neck region as a rope. During an accident, that rope can become compressed or stretched, resulting in pain that can take weeks or months to heal. When this happens, you need medical care like physical therapy to release the tension and repair all of the tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers along that rope. In addition to severe and persistent pain, whiplash can trigger long term debilitating headaches.
Leg and Arm Pain
Leg and arm pain is another common injury after an accident. Injuries to your extremities often present immediately, as opposed to internal or muscular injuries that can be more difficult to diagnose. For example, burns, scrapes, cuts, or broken bones after a car accident are the type of painful and obvious injuries that most of us scan for immediately. If you do have any of these injuries or you are feeling any discomfort that is unusual in your arms or legs, you should speak with a doctor as soon as possible.
Headaches and Concussion
Major head injuries often result in brain injury. In cases with obvious head trauma, medical teams are prepared to assess your level of injury. However, concussions can also result from the whiplash you may experience in even a relatively minor crash. Head pain can be an indicator of concussion. Headaches often arise in the hours after an accident. This can be the result of stress, or a sign that you’ve suffered brain trauma. If your headache is particularly painful or lasts more than a few hours, make sure you mention it to your treating physician or consult with a doctor right away. There are a list of questions and physical indicators that medical teams use to diagnose your likelihood of concussion. The sooner a concussion is confirmed, the sooner you can begin treatment steps that can reduce your pain and recovery time.
Chest pain in your rib area can be caused by a number of factors in an accident. The most common is the force exerted on your body when the seatbelt engages during a crash. Another common cause of rib pain results from the impact of airbags, either from the steering wheel or side-airbag deployment. In some cases, chest pain can be an indication of internal injury. This is why it’s wise to get checked out by a doctor immediately following a crash to either rule out or confirm more serious injuries that could escalate.
Internal injuries are almost impossible to evaluate or determine without the examination by a medical professional or imaging (i.e. CAT scan, x-ray, MRI). If you feel pain in your torso or abdominal pain, then you could be suffering from internal bleeding or damage to an organ.
Typically we see internal injuries in more serious auto accidents. In these cases, drivers and passengers are typically taken from the scene by ambulance for further observation and testing. A doctor will be able to determine if you are suffering from internal injuries. However, internal injuries are possible even in low impact crashes, especially if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt at the point of impact.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious condition that requires diagnostic testing in a medical setting. A Computerized tomography (CT) scan or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will generally determine if you have suffered a brain injury. If you are feeling a constant pain in the head or lacking the mental function you had before the accident, seek immediate medical attention to determine if you have a TBI. Much as in the case of concussion, prompt diagnosis can improve your recovery time and results.
How Long Should I Be Sore After a Car Accident in Maryland?
You may feel fine immediately after your Maryland car wreck due to adrenaline. However, once soreness sets in, it can persist for days, weeks or even longer depending on your injuries. Low impact accidents will typically result in less recovery time. More violent crashes, such as head-on collisions or roll-overs can take months or longer to heal. Often you will have to limit your level of physical activity while recovering. This can result in time off of work or other reductions in your quality of life that could be taken into account when totaling the economic cost of your accident.
An adrenaline rush often blocks your pain receptors in the hours after a car accident. Many clients tell us they felt like they were in a “fog” or time seemed to slow down immediately after a crash. The flood of the adrenaline hormone, also known as epinephrine, can also trigger:
- Increased heart rate
- Inability to focus on the task at hand
- Dry mouth
- Blocking out pain or injuries
While your body is experiencing an adrenaline surge, it may also be masking the physical injuries you suffered in the accident. Once the adrenaline levels subside in your body, you will begin to be more cognizant of physical injuries that may be present.
Should I See a Doctor After My Maryland Car Accident?
No two crashes are the same and we all react to physical pain differently. Your personal level of injury could be very different from someone else who was in the car with you during the accident. In addition, younger victims of an accident may feel less pain than an older individual who has other health considerations. Some clients report that it took hours or even days to register pain after an accident. Our best advice is to get a medical evaluation immediately after your accident, and follow up with your doctor if you develop new symptoms or if your pain is not responding to treatment.
The type of doctor you should see after an accident will be dictated by the injuries and pain you are experiencing. It is always safe to start by seeing your primary care physician (PCP). Your PCP acts as the quarterback coordinating and managing your care. Your PCP can often help connect you with specialists and help facilitate the paperwork and referrals needed to put together your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Contact Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer Randolph Rice if You Were Injured in a Crash
Insurance companies don’t want to pay for your injuries and they are hoping you don’t hire a car accident lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve. They often offer a settlement soon after a crash in hopes that they won’t be liable for any of your emerging symptoms that could require long term treatment. Conditions that may worsen over time or that result in lost wages or quality of life can’t be compensated after you accept a settlement check.
If you are physically injured in an accident and you’re worried about mounting medical bills, lost wages and recovery time, contact our law firm today. The sooner you call, the more help we can provide in dealing with the paperwork and hassle involved in sorting out your insurance, repairing your car and handling your medical care. If you’re still dealing with the fallout from a crash, it’s never too late to call us and get a free consultation about your case and any compensation you may be due.
We’ll schedule a time convenient for you to meet with our Baltimore personal injury lawyers, either in person, over the phone or via secure video chat. We’ll discuss your options, what to expect and how we can help get you the money you deserve.